by Laura Chiu (Commerce ’19, ReUnion Street Festival Marketing Chair)

Although the weather would seem to indicate that Summer is just getting into full swing, believe it or not, Fall is here – and that means that Homecoming is almost upon us! Four years ago, if you’d asked a given group of Queen’s students or alumni what Homecoming comprised for them, their answers likely would’ve included some HoCo staples: tricolour galore, the football game, the alumni parade, BooHoo the Bear, Oil Thighs, purple people, friends—old and new—and leather jackets of all shapes, sizes, and years. I like to think that if you were to ask a group of Gaels that same question nowadays, ReUnion Street Festival would make its way into the pool of answers.

ReUnion Street Festival has now been a part of the Homecoming experience for as long as many current students have been part of the Queen’s community—and while that’s an outstanding achievement, the festival is still relatively young, as far as Queen’s traditions go. The prospect of being a part of the tradition as it continues to fully take root was one of my reasons for wanting to get involved with running the festival this year, and I feel extremely fortunate to have been awarded that opportunity in the form of the Marketing Chair position.

A whole lot goes into planning this festival; everyone on the ReUnion team has been working incredibly hard throughout the summer, and in some cases since as far back as 2016. Our Operations Chair, Pablo Opazo, has been laying the very foundation of the festival, ensuring that essentials like licencing and safety elements are in place. Matt Whittier, our Programming Chair, has been planning the entertainment and activities that give the festival its heart and soul. Sarah Reddick, our Volunteer and Outreach Chair, has been the main player in selecting this year’s charity, Almost Home, as well as seeking out sponsors and volunteers—two huge contributors to the festival. And of course, our fearless Festival Coordinator, Alexandra da Silva, has been tying together the seemingly thousands of stakeholders involved in the festival, and helping to plan and execute just about every element of the festival like it’s her job. (Possibly because it really is her job!)

I am extremely happy that ReUnion will be contributing to Almost Home this year, a charity that provides affordable and accessible accommodations (a home-away-from-home) for families with children who are required to travel to Kingston for medical services. We are collaborating with some AMS and EngSoc services (Queen’s Pub, Clark Hall Pub, the Tea Room, Common Ground Coffeehouse, and Tricolour Outlet) to offer special products and events leading up to Homecoming; a portion of the proceeds from these efforts will be donated to Almost Home. Furthermore, all revenue received from our merchandise and raffle ticket sales will be contributed as well!

Although our ReUnion team is small and mighty, you might be surprised to know how many other people and parties are involved in making this evening happen. We’ve been working alongside the City of Kingston Police and Emergency Services, food vendors, campus clubs, the Queen’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Association, and numerous services and offices within the AMS, including StudioQ, the MarComm office, and the Municipal Affairs Commission. I’ve been astounded and inspired by the sheer number of individuals and organizations that have put their all into making this festival the best it can possibly be for us.

That being said, we still need some extra help to ensure that the festival goes off without a hitch, and that future years of ReUnion are set up for success. Our volunteering roles include operations, guest services, photography, and clean up; if you are interested in contributing to a major Homecoming event through one of these roles, please visit ** http://www.queensu.ca/alumni/homecoming/volunteer-at-homecoming ?* for more information!

On October 14th, end off your day of Homecoming festivities with ReUnion Street Festival—whether it’s by volunteering, filling up at the food vendors, enjoying our student performances, learning about Queens’ history at the JDUC display, rocking on during the live concert, entering our raffle, snapping pictures at the photobooth, or dancing the night away with our DJ. And above all that, enjoy the company of your friends, seize the opportunity to mingle with people well outside your graduating class, and celebrate everything that makes Queen’s so special.